Office expected to announce verdict in October
BERLIN — The German Cartel Office threatened on Tuesday to veto a proposed change in the shareholder structure of German pay-TV web Premiere if concessions are not offered.
After the European Commission banned their digital pay-TV alliance last May, Premiere shareholders Leo Kirch and Bertelsmann subsidiary CLT-Ufa applied to German antitrust authorities for permission to increase their stakes in Premiere to 50% each.
As part of their rejected merger plan, Kirch and CLT-Ufa had agreed to buy out the 37.5% stake of partner Canal Plus and split power at Premiere.
But in an official warning, German cartel officials demanded an unspecified set of concessions from CLT-Ufa and Kirch before approving the new plan.
The office is expected to announce its verdict in mid-October.
Like the European Commission, German officials are concerned that Kirch and CLT-Ufa will monopolize pay-TV in Germany.
“The transformation of Premiere into a joint venture between CLT-Ufa and the Kirch Group would likely lead to a strengthening of this market dominance.”